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Parkland of Harewood estate in the rain
Parkland of Harewood estate in the rain

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Saturday 5 July 2008
Harewood, Wike, Harewood Estate circuit - 11km
Lower Wharfedale

Map: OS Explorer 289 Leeds at 1:25000
Route Map on 'Landranger' base map from OS Open Space service
Open this route in Google Earth


The busy A59 through Harewood village
The busy A59 through Harewood village

We drove to Harewood village on the edge of Wharfedale on the busy A61 road from Leeds to Harrogate. We parked in front of the village hall - not much room but we all managed to fit in.

Today is the day for our monthly walk with a group of friends. This month Geoff is leading the walk and we are all going back to his place for a barbecue afterwards.

The track heading east out of Harewood village
The track heading east out of Harewood village

The track heading east out of Harewood village
The track heading east out of Harewood village

There was the sound of powerful car engines revving in the distance and after about 1km we could see the site of the Harewood Hill-climb where an event was in progress. Here (map ref. SE333452) the track turned right and after about 300m we came to the busy A659, Harewood Avenue road.

The weather was awful with frequent heavy showers and a gloomy overcast sky (just right for a barbecue!) We set off walking at about 10.30am across the main road and down a permissive path at the side of the Harewood Arms Hotel heading east.

One day I WILL get a decent shot of a red kite
One day I WILL get a decent shot of a red kite

Looking across Wharfedale from the track out of Harewood village
Looking across Wharfedale from the track out of Harewood village
Sheep sensibly sheltering under the trees
Sheep sensibly sheltering under the trees - we just kept walking in the rain
Fish pond at New Laithe Farm
Fish pond at New Laithe Farm

Finger post in the rainy gloom as we joined the Leeds Country Way
Finger post in the rainy gloom as we joined the Leeds Country Way

We followed this track for over 2km heading southwards past New Laithe Farm and Hollin Hall until we reached the Leeds Country Way at map ref. SE338429. Here we turned right to walk along the Leeds Country Way to a minor road and then along the minor road to the A61 at map ref. SE325431.

At the road we turned left to walk along the road for about 200m. There was lots of very fast traffic and I was glad when we turned right off the road onto a farm track at map ref. SE335450.

Leeds Country Way entering the Harewood estate off the A59
On the Leeds Country Way entering the Harewood estate off the A59

Parkland of Harewood estate in the rain
Parkland of Harewood estate in the rain

Sheep grazing in the rain
Sheep grazing in the rain

We followed the track across the open pasture where most of the cattle and sheep were sheltering from the rain under the trees.

We crossed the road to continue along the Leeds Country Way into the Harewood Estates landscaped park land.

Heading east across the Harewood estate parkland
Heading east across the Harewood estate parkland

Cattle sheltering from the rain on the Harewood estate
Cattle sheltering from the rain on the Harewood estate

There is a huge gunnera plant on the stream bank and nearby we found a large horse chestnut tree to shelter under whilst we had our lunch.

After just over a kilometer we reached a stream which is in fact Eccup Beck but here it has an ornamental bridge and a weir to create that creates a pleasant pond.

A gunnera by Eccup Beck seen from the Leeds Country Way in Piper Wood
Gunnera by Eccup Beck seen from Leeds Country Way in Piper Wood


Sheltering from the rain under a horse chestnut tree for our lunch

Leeds Country Way in Piper Wood
Leeds Country Way in Piper Wood

Here the Leeds Country Way and the Ebor Way meet and we turned right to walk along the Ebor Way northwards.

After our lunch we continued along the Leeds Country Way for another kilometer to map ref. SE302437.

Leeds Country Way in Piper Wood
Leeds Country Way in Piper Wood

Leeds Country Way crossing Stub House Beck
Leeds Country Way crossing Stub House Beck
Leeds Country Way near its junction with the Ebor Way
Leeds Country Way near its junction with the Ebor Way

Jacobs Sheep and lambs at Holme Farm
Jacob's Sheep and lambs at Holme Farm

From the turn it was about 1.5km along the track through the park land back to our starting point at the village hall in Harewood.

After about a kilometer we passed through Holme Farm and a few hundred metres north of the farm (at map ref. SE306450) the Ebor Way turns right to go along the south of the North Park where we saw a small group of fallow deer stags.

Looking over Wharfedale from the Ebor Way just north of Holme Farm
Looking over Wharfedale from the Ebor Way just north of Holme Farm

A group of fallow deer stags in the north park
A group of fallow deer stags in the north park
View over the north park from the Ebor Way
View over the North Park from the Ebor Way

The Ebor Way heading east to Harewood village
The Ebor Way heading east to Harewood village

The rain had only eased slightly between the heavier showers for the whole walk and we were all soaked. We drove a few kilometre back to Geoff's house. The weather did improve so that there were warm bright intervals between less frequent heavy showers and we were able to enjoy one of Geoff's legendary barbecues. Lynne, Geoff's wife had prepared an array of salads and other food to make the whole meal complete and it was a very pleasant afternoon indeed.

The Harewood Estate in involved in the breeding and release program for red kites and we saw several red kites cruising just above the tree tops between the showers but I was unable to pick them out in my camera viewfinder to get a decent shot, but one day I will. The whole route had been about 11km and had taken us three and a half hours to walk including a short lunch stop.

Just a few more meters to go back to our start in the village
Just a few more meters to go back to our start in the village

Background Notes:
This walk is an 11km, 7 mile, circuit from the village of Harewood on the Leeds to Harrogate road in lower Wharfedale. Harewood village was designed by the York architect John Carr and built in 1760. It replaced the original village called Gawthorpe which was within the now landscaped grounds of Harewood House. We leave Harewood on a track across the fields heading east. After a little over 1km we cross the road known as Harewood Avenue close to the entrance to the Harewood Hill Climb Course. This motorsport hill climb course is one of the longest in the country and is a very popular venue, with the next event due in April. From Harewood Avenue we head south across pleasant farmland for about 2km to join the Leeds Country Way. This is a public long distance footpath that encircles Leeds through some very enjoyable countryside. The whole route is about 100km, 60 miles. We follow this route now heading back west to re-cross the Leeds to Harrogate road and enter the grounds of Harewood House. Still on the Leeds Country Way our route goes throught the parkland. At one point you can peer over the hedge at the edge of a wood and look down to what seems to be a small village. This is in fact the permanent set built to film exterior shots of the fictional village of "Beckindale" for episodes of the TV series Emmerdale. For over 20 years it was filmed at the village of Esholt near Bradford but I think eventually there was just too much public interest in the site for filming to continue. The set here is modelled to imitate the layout and buildings of Esholt and it is on estate land with no public access so filming can go on unhindered. We leave the Leeds Country Way to head north through the estate parkland along the route of the Ebor Way that goes from Helmsley to Ilkley. The whole Ebor Way route is 76 miles, 122km. We follow the Ebor way skirting around Harewood House first to the west of the house and then to the north of the house. Harewood House was built in the mid 1700's for Edwin Lascelles and it remains the home of the Lascelles family to this day. The house and interiors were by John Carr of York and Robert Adam with furniture by Thomas Chippendale of Otley and the estate parkland was laid out to the design of Capability Brown. In fact it was all done by the finest designers and craftsmen of the day. On this walk you are bound to see Red Kites. They are birds of prey about the same size as a buzzard but with a distinctive forked tail. They are very manoeverable in flight and generally are seen just a little above the tree tops riding on the wind with tiny twitches of their wings and tails to keep their position. I said they are birds of prey but really they look like birds of prey but in fact they are scavengers feeding from carrion and so perform a useful service clearing up carcasses in much the same way as vultures. Harewood is the centre of a captive breeding and realease programme to reintroduce Red Kites into Yorkshire. It began in 1999 and has been very successful and you can see these spectacular birds in many places in our county. The Ebor Way route leads us through the estate parkland and back into Harewood village at the village hall and the end of our walk for this week.

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